Summary: A meek person is Christlike, humble, gentle and patient.
People tend to equate “meekness” with “weakness.” We see a meek person as more of a gaunt man rather than a muscleman. In fact, in MS Word, when I right-clicked the word “meek” and searched for its synonyms, one of them is “timid.” When Jesus declared, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth,” we tend to think that what He was actually saying was, “Blessed are the weak for they shall become doormats.” I was not at all surprised when I saw that the Merriam and Webster online dictionary defined “meek” as “deficient in spirit and courage” and “not violent or strong.”
Keep in mind, that in the Bible, meek is not weak. The word “meek” has a very colorful background in Biblical times. Back then, it refers to a wild stallion that trainers brought under control. Can you imagine the raw power that horses possess? Well, just watch a rodeo to get an idea of how much power a horse has. In fact, we use the term “horsepower” to measure a unit of power.
But, we can tame a horse to become such a gentle animal. I even read about hippotherapy or a therapy that uses horses to help children with special needs or patients who suffered a stroke or traumatic brain injury to improve their functional skills.
When you think of meekness, think of a horse. Power under control. That’s why we say meek is not weak. So, instead of accepting the world’s definition, let us find out how the Bible described “meekness.” How does a meek person look like? I came up with the M-E-E-K acronym to make it easy to remember.
First, MEEKNESS IS BEING LIKE CHRIST. Twice in the book of Matthew our Lord Jesus was described as “meek.” In his triumphal entry in Jerusalem, Matthew wrote, “Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold, your King comes to you, meek…” In fact, Jesus described Himself this way: “Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls.” Thus, to be meek is to be like Christ. And Christ was and is and will never be weak. The Lamb of God is also the Lion of Judah. Tough but gentle.
The Lord Jesus made it clear that He willingly came to die: “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.” In the Garden of Gethsemane, though He was filled with deep anguish, he prayed: “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine.” He is equal to the Father. He has the right not to go to the cross. But He chose to obey. He submitted Himself to God’s will. He exalted God’s will over all.
In fact, when Peter tried to stop His arrest, the Lord told him, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” A legion was equal to 6,000 foot soldiers and 600 horsemen. That’s almost 80,000 angels! The Message goes like this: “Don’t you realize that I am able right now to call to my Father, and twelve companies—more, if I want them—of fighting angels would be here, battle-ready?” At that very moment, Jesus can summon even more than that! But He did not. When you have the power and you chose not to use that power, that is meekness. When you don’t insist on your rights, that is meekness.
Thus, to submit to God’s will is not an act of weakness. Instead, it is an act of meekness. James Packer wrote, “Meekness, for a child of God, means accepting uncomplainingly what comes, knowing that it comes from the hand of God who orders all things. What he sends, we accept in faith even if it hurts, knowing that it’s for our and others’ good.” Also, when we obey God, when we submit to the church leadership or to the government, when wives submit to their husbands or when children submit to their parents, that is meekness. And meek is not weak.
Now, note the context of “Blessed are the meek” in the Sermon on the Mount. First, Jesus started with, “Blessed are the poor in spirit...” We see our need for God. We admit that we are spiritually poor or bankrupt. That we have nothing to be proud of before God. That’s why the next thing our Lord said is: “Blessed are those who mourn…” Accepting that we are “poor in spirit” leads us to repent or “mourn.”
Then, it results to meekness. After we deal with our relationship with God, we now deal with our relationship with people. To love God is to love people. According to 1 John 4:20-21, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” You cannot love God without loving people.